Friday, December 16, 2016

It's still hot! Second hottest November in the NASA GISTemp record

Sou | 11:35 AM Go to the first of 61 comments. Add a comment
According to GISS NASA, the average global surface temperature anomaly for November was 0.95 °C, which is the second hottest November on record, and only 0.07 °C lower than the hottest November during the El Niño in 2015.

The average for the eleven months to the end of November is 1.01 °C, which is 0.17 °C higher than the previous hottest January to November period in 2015, which with the latest data had an anomaly of 0.84 °C.

Here is a chart of the average of 12 months to November each year. The 12 months to November 2016 averaged 1.02 °C above the 1951-1980 mean and was 0.14 °C hotter than the 12 months to November 2015:
Figure 1 | Global mean surface temperature anomaly for the 12 months to November each year. The base period is 1951-1980. Data source: GISS NASA

Below is a chart of the month of November only. Hover over the chart to see the anomaly in any November:
Figure 2 | Global mean surface temperature anomaly for the the month of November only. The base period is 1951-1980. Data source: GISS NASA

The La Niña didn't emerge

You can see the global mean temperature trend by month in the chart below, for the strongest El Niño years since 1950, which were followed by a La Nina. I've included the 2015/16 period for comparison. NOAA announced a La Nina advisory. The BoM ENSO update says there will not be a La Nina - and has taken the watch notice away.

Including 2015/16, of the eight very strong, strong and strong to moderate El Ninos since 1950, there were only three that were followed by a La Nina. The chart spans a three year period. That is, for the 2015-16 El Niño and subsequent, it goes from January 2015 to December 2017, or would if the data allowed. (For a more detailed explanation see the HW articles: El Niño to La Niña years with more detail here.)

Figure 3 | Global mean surface temperature for strong or moderate/strong El Nino years that were followed by a La Nina. 2015/16 is shown for comparison, but there has not been a La Nina this year. Data source: GISS NASA

Where was it hot?

Last month it was very hot in the Arctic, over North America and down in Antarctica. As with last month, there was a part of Russia that was rather cool.

Figure 4 | Map showing mean surface temperature, anomalies for November, from the 1951-1980 mean. Source: GISS NASA

Below is October for comparison:

Figure 5 | Map showing mean surface temperature, anomalies for October, from the 1951-1980 mean. Source: GISS NASA

Next is a chart showing the anomalies for November by latitude, which highlights the extraordinary temperatures in the high north. Right up top it averaged more than 11 °C above the 1951-1980 mean.

Figure 6 | Global mean surface temperature anomaly for November 2016 by latitude. The base period is 1951-1980. Data source: GISS NASA

Year to date average surface temperature

The chart below tracks the year to date. Each point on the plot is the average of the year to that month. For 2016, the last point is the average of all months to date including November. This year is tracking well above 2015, partly because of the El Niño and partly because of the extraordinary warmth in the Arctic. To drop below the average for 2015, the average anomaly for December would need to be lower than minus 0.75 °C.:

Figure 7 | Global mean surface temperature, progressive year to date to November 2016. Data source. GISS NASA

December would have to be as cold as the coldest month on record...

For 2016 to be colder than 2015, the December average would need to be below minus 0.75 °C. The only month with an average less than minus 0.75 °C was in December 1916! That's out of all months of the year, not just for December. Below is a chart showing the average temperature for December for the entire record: 1880 to 2015. (The blue line down the bottom is minus 0.75°C. The black line up the top is the average year to date, January to November 2016.)

Figure 8 | Global mean surface temperature anomaly for December. The base period is 1951-1980. The blue line down the bottom is what December would need to be for 2016 to be the same average annual temperature as 2015. The black line up top is the average year to date for 2016. Data source: GISS NASA

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  1. Get ready for fun and games late January 2017. The 2016 figures will be released and NASA/NOAA will have their press conference. It is likely the satellite record will also show a record warm year. Then President Trump will be inaugurated on the 20th (unless there is an Electoral College revolt next week).

    I have noticed an uptick in climate change denier postings already. Even on my Facebook timeline I have been getting climate change denier postings - this has never happened before.

    1. Donald Trump has already reneged on many of his promises. I don't know how deniers will react when he doesn't stop global warming. Even if he sacks all the scientists, dismantles all the computers, blows up all the satellites and burns all the books, the world will continue to get hotter.

      I guess the deniers will rely on 2017 being a tad cooler than this year - but their apparent reprieve won't last long.

      BTW Harry, have you heard any more about David Evans' paper that was supposed to be published in October? Another broken promise?

    2. their apparent reprieve won't last long.

      Oh, no, Sou. Haven't you heard? A Russian astrophycist said in an interview that we're heading into another "Little Ice Age." Surely that's definitive.

    3. The fun and games have already started Harry. The proprietors of the porky pie production line are sowing the seeds as we speak:


      Your ENSO comment disappeared without trace down the Climate Etc. memory hole this morning. Wash your (virtual) mouth out with soap!

    4. Jim Hunt.

      I noticed Dr Curry left in the comment where Philjourdan accused me of misogyny. I took a screen copy of that one for future reference. I won't post a link, it is in the article "Shifting Sand of the Climate Debate".

    5. I see what you mean Harry. A wholly unwarranted slander by PJ. Duly archived for posterity. Unfortunately the Good Ol' U S of A has a "1st amendment" does it not?

      Despite that such asymmetric moderation is not uncommon at Climate Etc. Once upon a time Willard called me nasty names in public and Judy refused to publish my witty riposte, or to pull the plug on said nasty name calling:


    6. Jim Hunt.

      Dr Curry replied to one of my posts and it was so inane I suspect it was not from her. I would not put it past these blogs to have some help. Jo Nova has some anonymous moderators and at least one of them does not appear to be an Australian judging by their use of English - help from overseas I wonder?

    7. Harry (and Sou) - You may possibly find this mildly entertaining?


      Do you suppose the original will still be there when I wake up tomorrow (UTC)?

      If so do you suppose Prof. Judy will have answered my question?

  2. Sou.

    I have not heard anything about the David Evan's paper. It must be held up at the printers or something :-)

    The world does not need the US, there are plenty of other countries to continue the climate change research. And other countries can launch earth observation satellites as well.

    1. The Irony. Trump will force the planet to rely on the China National Space Administration.

  3. Looking at the vehemence with which 2016 has surged above all previous years in terms of global temperature anomaly, it is patently obvious that the planet's Holocene climate has been broken.

    And with the political ructions of the last month it's also obvious that too many humans are evolutionarily maladapted to be able to perceive and respond to slow-burn threats, which means that the medium-to-long term hope for our species' society and very extance are almost certainly broken too.

    The reality is that continued optimism for a benign future Earth is unjustifiable. The question now is how hard we can work to minimise the crash-landing, and to salvage a portion of the rapidly-growing list of species being consigned to extinction: many are already the living dead...

    That's the frame of reference that we need to face - how hard do we want to hit the wall of a failing Holocene biosphere? And every year we continue to baulk at action, the choice for having any capacity to cushion the impact grows appreciably smaller.

    There's probably less than a human generation span left to be able to make a useful difference.

    1. Bernard J.

      "it is patently obvious that the planet's Holocene climate has been broken."

      You need to explain what you mean by this. 2016 is a high year, but that does not mean 2017 will be a high year as well. I suspect that 2017 will be cooler than 2016, on the basis of a regression to the mean.

    2. Harry, to me it's 'patently obvious' that the climate system is breaking out of anything seen in the Holocene. It's a new world we're entering.

      2017 will probably have a lower average temperature than 2016, but it will also probably be higher than anything before 2010, and almost certainly higher than anything in the Holocene prior to 2000.

      I don't think you can call this the Holocene anymore.

    3. What 'mean'?
      'Regression to the mean' always has a mystic sound to me.

    4. Nothing too "mystical" about regression. Over many samplings, a random process with a fixed mean and sd tends to deliver a set of values with that mean and that sd.

      The trick is not to expect too much predictability in that tendency, and that is where one can go very wrong.

      Run this R code for 100000 simulated coin flips, for example:

      x <- sample(c(-1,1), size=100000, replace=TRUE)
      x.cum <- cumsum(x)

      The expected value of the cumulative series here is 0 just like the expected value of the original series itself. But you will not see any regularity with which excursions of the sum of the cumulative series one way are "made up" for with excursions the other way even though the mean and sd of the sample as a whole are -0.00206 and 1.000003 respectively. Other seeds will give other shapes but what you won't generally see is excursions equally above and below 0. This is the basis of the Gambler's Fallacy, i.e., the fallacy that past independent events have any bearing on present independent events.

    5. I am quite aware.
      "Over many samplings, a random process with a fixed mean and sd tends to deliver a set of values with that mean and that sd."
      Elementary law of large numbers. But 'regression to the mean' is often presented as if it happens through some magic means (a 'physical law' never stated) and always has to happen. Even while the mean itself actually shifts (hence: 'what mean?') - which is also often forgotten (and sometimes malused by climate revisionists).

    6. I think we agree. My point is there is nothing mystical about regression, but that there really is something ignorant/naive in saying that "because regression" something is "has to happen", as the summing of a cumulative series with expectation(0) shows. It doesn't, as you note.

      Well at infinity... :-o...but that's a different notion!

    7. I said regression to the mean is likely to happen, I did not say it would happen. Wikipedia has a good article about regression to the mean, including a proof for why it happens.

    8. Moving around the *trend* is what usually ends up happening with global surface temperature. (The *mean* keeps shifting up, and depends on the time period. The trend has changed over the long term, too.)

    9. The reason 2017 will likely be cooler than 2016 is in no case 'regression to the mean', because formally that is no reason, or said exactly: 'lack of reason'.
      The real reason in this case shall be the waning of the Niño effect. Of course now we can apply some pseudophilosophy and call this EN/SO behaviour 'regression to the mean' or 'caused' by it. But such makes no real sense.

      Having said this imo we probably all agree. I just feel a need to demystify dissipation..

    10. I expect we all agree. The explanation of why the temperature meanders above and below the trendline is quite different to the fact of it happening.

      From this year to next year it'll be influenced by the end of the El Nino earlier this year. In another period the variability might be caused by a volcanic eruption cooling things down for a bit. There's also the fact that rarely does the heat dissipate out of the system all of a sudden. Years are artificial dividers used for our convenience. The energy in the system in December will not all of a sudden change a huge amount between 31 December and 1 January for example. Then there's greenhouse warming, which is causing the trend itself.

    11. "You need to explain what you mean by this. 2016 is a high year, but that does not mean 2017 will be a high year as well. I suspect that 2017 will be cooler than 2016...

      Harry, I didn't say that 2017 would be warmer than 2016. In fact I've previously said elsewhere that it very likely wouldn't be warmer than 2016 - the new "pause" and all that...

      What I referred to was the "vehemence" of the recent warming, and of 2016 in particular. I'm speaking of the surge, the persistent upward trend that averaged over longer spans has thus far shown no inclination to plateau or even reduce in rate. The trajectory is ominous, and given the inertia of a planetary system we're perilously close to heading into serious not-in-Kansas anymore territory.

      Of course there will be cooler years. There will be further extremely warm record years. The problem though is the obstinacy of the underlying trend, and that it persists in leapings forward with too-frequent and too-large-in-magnitude abandon. And that trend reflects a broken Holocene climate: given the momentum inherent we're probably already committed to sailing way past the Holocene maximum (not necessarily an optimum...), with a concomitant lose of species and ecosystem functions.

      We're all talking a lot, and some of us are even doing a lot - but in terms of global effect we're collectively like a cartoon character bongo footing on the spot instead of running forward. And that ACME 10 ton weight is fast casting its growing shadow over a stalled humanity...

    12. cRR Kampen.

      "pseudophilosophy"... really? Regression to the mean is a statistical concept.

      I like having a discussion, but not so keen when people make stuff up.

    13. Regression to the mean is something that can often be observed statistically when sampling a population. Surface temperature doesn't show regression to the mean, though it does show a tendency to move up and down about the trendline (regression to the trendline if you will).

      Whether it's regression to a mean or regression to a trendline, you can't rely on it as a predictive tool from one particular year to the next. If you could, people may have assumed that 2016 would be colder than 2015 since 2015 was above the trendline.

      It's what's happening in the climate system that determines whether this year or next will be hotter or cooler than a previous year. El Nino and Arctic warming on top of greenhouse warming meant that this year will be the hottest year on record (and the global mean surface temperature didn't "regress" to the trendline).

      Next year it may regress, but not because of statistics. It will be because of climate factors.

      Statistical analysis of surface temperature will lead one to assume that sooner rather than later one year will be cooler than the previous year, but you can't use that to predict what will happen in any specific year. It will also lead one to assume that sooner rather than later one year will be hotter than the previous year. (It will also lead one to assume that the world is heating up.)

  4. I think you have an error in Figure 8's caption. Shouldn't it be "The blACK line is the average year to date for 2016"?

    The text above the figure seems to be correct.

    1. Thanks for spotting that RG - you've sharp eyes :)

      Fixed now.

  5. I think it is too soon to be too pessimistic

    I suspect most people (me included) commenting on this blog and WUWT for that matter exist is a bit of a self referential bubble where AGW is concerned

    most people I spk to (in the real world) get it, and get that progress is often synonymous with a low (fossil fuel)energy future

    1. The problem is that most people don't vote on this issue. Witness the election of the Donald.

  6. The Paris deal was too little too late. And even then the politicians had no intention of complying with what they signed up to. And without bringing the size of the world's population under control ecological collapse would happen anyway. Politicians haven't even begun to consider that one.

    So Trump isn't a disaster he's just another step on the way to the disaster.

    1. The size of the world's population is expected to stabilize at about 25% more than today. That's in part because politicians considered this as a major problem already back in the 1970s.

      The wealth is expected to grow dramatically. That's the risk: that everyone becomes as profligate as the rich anglophones, or even just as much as the European middle class.

    2. From memory, the current population gets through a year's worth of the resources that can be sustainably harvested in just eight months.

    3. If we currently use more resources than are available, population growth is clearly not the problem.

      Keep in mind also that the climate change issue is driven by rich countries: poor countries can't afford coal-fired power plants, good roads, and cars. But it's poor countries that are growing:

      (That report mentions more like a 50% growth to 2100, whereas the projection is read is stabilizing around the 2050 population. There's huge uncertainty because policy changes lead to small changes in the base of an exponent, which with a large exponent leads to huge changes.)

      Youll need to do some extra work to establish your claim that population growth is the root problem, and that our leaders don't talk about it.

    4. I don't make the claim that population growth is the root problem. My claim is that its one of two (or more) problems all of which must be solved.

      And our leaders have not said anything indicating they have a believable fix. Voluntary birth control relying on education seems to only lead to an undesirable demographic shift with an increasing proportion of the population being the uneducable. Its not clear that there even is a fix that is acceptable to our moral codes.

    5. "Voluntary birth control relying on education seems to only lead to an undesirable demographic shift with an increasing proportion of the population being the uneducable" [citation needed]

      Voluntary birth control is how the entire rich world has a birth rate at or below replacement. And it's how birth rates are falling everywhere around the world.

      I don't know what exactly you mean by that "undesirable" bit but it skims perilously close to the far-right racist arguments targeting e.g. Catholics in New England in the early 20th, Latinos in the US in the late 20th / early 21st, Rohingya in Rakhine these days, Arabs in Israel, etc, Muslims in Quebec, etc. It's an ancient argument: the undesirables are outbreeding us, we must do something that violates our moral codes.

    6. "I don't know what exactly you mean by that "undesirable" bit but it skims perilously close to the far-right racist arguments targeting..."

      You are absolutely correct, it does. The only UK politician to broach the subject (Sir Keith Joseph) was pilloried for doing so. Its one reason why it does not get discussed.

      And then you have the horrors of eugenics, most notably in Nazi Germany.

      But there is some evidence to support it.

      Should it not be discussed?

    7. That evidence is as strong as a paper by John Lott on guns, or Wakefield on vaccines, or IQ by Herrnstein and Miller.

      No, it should not be discussed.

      But thank you for outing yourself as a class-based eugenicist.

    8. A very facile rejection of the paper. Followed by it should not be discussed because ... politics. Followed by an insult. That seems somehow familiar.

      I will not be rude in return although I think you do deserve a reply in kind.

    9. It should not be discussed because the science is terribly weak. What does politics have to do with it?

      I'm not insulting you by calling you a eugenicist. If you think that there's an underclass that's outbreeding the better classes and we need to explore ways to fix this, well, that's eugenics. By definition.

    10. This discussion of dysgenics/eugenics has veered off the topic of second hottest November and hottest year on record.

    11. I agree Sou.

      But there is something interesting here: note how what I have said is being distorted and things I have not said and do not agree with are being imagined (that there are people who are less intelligent is a fact, to consider them an 'underclass' is disgusting). The exact same tactics I would expect from climate change deniers.

    12. Most people who comment here agree that climate change is bad and something must be done about it. (Some people who come here might not agree with that, but they tend not to comment much.)

      When it comes to other topics there are a heap of different opinions - some informed, others less so. (GMO comes to mind.) I also had a strange experience on Twitter recently, when something I wrote was considered politically incorrect. In that case it surprised me - I implied that education helps to lessen ignorance and a couple of people took exception to that notion, and seemed to want to distort what I was saying then, too.

      Anyway, probably best to recognise that we each have different views on a lot of different topics. Even on the subject of global warming. I'd like to think that here, when among friends, we're willing to give the benefit of the doubt rather than jumping to a conclusion (that may not be warranted).

    13. But I would have hoped that where science is weak the response of everyone here would be to wish to debunk or to strengthen it, not to silence it. But when I read

      "It should not be discussed because the science is terribly weak"

      That would appear to be in doubt.

      How is that relevant to HotWhopper? The topic isn't, but the reaction to it is. If you are a 30 year+ veteran of the oil industry with a great lifestyle and a good pension then is your reaction to the science of climate change any different to Numerobis's reaction to my first posts?

    14. I would have hoped that where science is weak the response of everyone here would be to wish to debunk or to strengthen it, not to silence it.

      Yes - that's the aim at HW. (Some people who've spent decades working in the oil industry are also climate hawks :D, but I take your point, Millicent.)

    15. At Hot Whopper we generally mock bad science, not hold it up and declare it's worth discussing and complain about people laughing it off.

      You've given no support for your claim that there's no work on population growth, and no discussion of that from our leaders -- I put in a link to UN data that shows the converse is true. I can find more data if you'd like, but I feel you should back up your claims too.

      Nor have you given support for your contention that population growth is an important factor driving climate change. Despite the fact that the countries driving climate change aren't growing much.

      You offered a single paper that argued that IQ scores have been declining over the past century, and that attributes the change to population dynamics. I didn't bother debunking it, it's been debunked rather extensively (key notes: IQ isn't a good measure of intelligence given how strongly it correlates with cultural factors; the studies it analyzes aren't random samples from similar populations, so they can't so easily be combined).

      I offered that what you were saying was skirting the odious, and you agreed and wondered why we couldn't talk about it.

      Then you whine. Whatever.

    16. I have stopped discussing about the topic itself because Sou has indicated it is off topic.

      So you can continue to misrepresent what I have said without further comment from me.

      "Then you whine. Whatever."

      And, it seems, throw additional insults. I wonder who you think gets shown up by such conduct.

  7. So second lowest. Global cooling. The ice age cometh. I'm betting that that will be the denier take on this report.

  8. GISTEMP (station only) is out and reveals the Dec-Nov year blasted through the previous record (last year) by .33C
    Ice age, indeed.

  9. Holy cow! The AMS are not mincing their words in this report.


    1. It is what I thought. Excess heat events are caused by AGW not much doubt. Other events, well not so certain. I hit something that spun me out try to understand before I worked it out:

      CMIP5-NAT - model runs with natural forcing only (eg solar, volcanos)
      CMIP5-All - model runs with natural forcings and anthropogenic forcing (solar, volcanos, aerosols, greenhouse gases)
      CMIP5-CON - some sort of control model run with no forcings

      Also the temperature trend graphs look strange because they use a logarithmic vertical access. Logarithmic graphs take a lot of getting used to, I have hit them before.

    2. Thanks for the heads up, Harry. So much material - that and the Arctic Report Card and more.


      It's no wonder disinformers are pulling out all stops.

    3. And not just the Report Card Sou. There was another disturbing Arctic press conference at AGU:


      Two of many bullet points:

      One winter storm raised the air temperature from -40 F to +32 F in less than 48 hours, while the moisture in the air increased 10 times. All of these factors significantly warm the surface of the snow, even in mid-winter, and slow the growth of ice.

      Winter storms caused the sea ice to drift so fast that it increased mixing of the water beneath the ice. Deeper, warmer water was mixed up closer to the sea ice, causing it to melt from below despite winter air temperatures that were below freezing.

  10. You wouldn't believe how happy that report makes me, Harry. Because despite all the world's misfortunes due to AGW, Ireland is purported to be finally due for some long-awaited... sunshine! We'll be feckin' dancing in the streets here, I tell ya :-) /sarc

    (full disclosure: ex-pat Yank from NJ here, living in Amsterdam for 7 years, then in Ireland for 31 years. Weather sucks in both places, but that's why they're so green)

    1. I saw that, an "extreme" event of record sunshine! As long it it does not upset the cows, bring it! :-)

  11. Great work, Sou.

  12. But... but... Anthony just said it is colder today than the whole of last winter in the US. Something must be wrong somewhere! ;)

  13. NOAA is saying in its monthly State of the Climate it is the 5th warmest November and 0.41F (0.22C) lower than last year.


    1. That's interesting, Cam. From the map on that NOAA page, it misses the warming in the Arctic and parts of Antarctica, which were captured in GISTemp as above.

    2. I don't understand it myself, but I could speculate. Since the NOAA report is for a 138 year period, the lack of anything but spotty data for the Arctic and Antarctic prior to the satellite era would be problematic in adding it to the temperature record. I would think the NASA data may be more accurate globally, but for a shorter timeframe than the NOAA's.

    3. November 2016 is only one month. But even 5th is still pretty high. Let's see what December brings.

      Yeah the undersampling of the Arctic is a problem. That is where the catastrophic global warming is happening. I think the arctic researchers deduce the arctic temp from proxies such as air pressure.


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